With three straight away wins under its belt, the Ohio State wrestling team has a chance at a clean sweep of four straight meets away from Columbus.
The Buckeyes, ranked fourth nationally, are set to take on Indiana on Friday in Norwalk, Ohio, at Norwalk High School, before traveling to Maryland on Sunday to take on the Terrapins.
Last weekend, the Buckeyes knocked off No. 16 Michigan, 25-15, and Michigan State, 25-13.
OSU (7-3, 2-1) has been led by three-time defending national champion redshirt-senior Logan Stieber (15-0). Stieber, who wrestled at Monroeville — just a 10-minute drive from Norwalk — said he is eager to return to his roots and perform in front of an anticipated large crowd.
“It’s going to be good, a lot of people,” Stieber said. “Wrestling in front of a home crowd is great, I’m really excited.”
The Big Ten is home to 11 teams ranked in the USA Today/NWCA top-25 poll, but even though these upcoming opponents aren’t among the best, Stieber said he believes each week is full of tough competition.
“We’re used to wrestling good opponents, when we wrestle Friday and Sunday, you get a good guy Friday and a good guy Sunday, so it helps us get better,” he said. “These are the toughest guys in the country.”
His brother, redshirt-junior Hunter Stieber, ranked sixth in the country, is also returning to his hometown crowd, but because of an injury, he might not be able to compete for the rest of the season.
Freshman and fifth-ranked Kyle Snyder (17-2), who wrestles in the 197-pound weight class, will also be returning home this weekend when the team heads to Maryland on Sunday. Snyder was 179-0 and a three-time national prep champion in his first three years of high school.
The Woodbine, Md., native said he expects between 60 and 70 friends and family members to attend his match and wants himself and the team put together a strong showing.
“It’s gonna be awesome, I have a huge family and I don’t get to see them too often so I’m really excited to compete in front of them,” Snyder said. “Hopefully, we as a team, we can beat Maryland and I can get a win, too.”
Redshirt-freshman Bo Jordan (9-0) is set to put his undefeated record on the line in the 165-pound division when he is projected to take on seventh-ranked Taylor Walsh (24-3) for Indiana and Tyler Manion (3-11).
Jordan and Logan Stieber are the only two remaining unbeaten Buckeyes.
Heading into the weekend’s matches, coach Tom Ryan said he believes his team has gone through many challenges and has responded well.
“It’s been a challenging year, some of the situations we have faced couldn’t have been predicted, but we are learning about ourselves,” Ryan said.
Ryan holds a 6-0 record against Indiana since becoming the head coach in 2006-07.
This will be OSU’s first Big Ten meet against Maryland since the Terrapins joined the conference this season.
Friday’s match is set to begin at 7 p.m. with Sunday’s meet starting at noon.